The Northern Way

Thrymskvitha

1. Wild was Vingthor        when he awoke,
And when his mighty                hammer he missed;
he shook his beard,         his hair was bristling,
As the son of Jorth        about him sought.

2. Hear now the speech        that first he spake:
"Harken, Loki,        and heed my words,
Nowhere on earth        is it known to man,
Nor in heaven above: our hammer is stolen."

3. To the dwelling fair        of Freya went they,
Hear now the speech        that first he spake:
"Wilt thou, Freya,        thy feather-dress lend me,
That so my hammer        I may seek?"

Freya spake:
4. "Thine should it be        though of silver bright,
And I would give it        though ‘twere of gold."
Then Loki flew,        and the feather-dress whirred,
Till he left behind him        the home of the gods,
And reached at last        the realm of the giants.

5. Thrym sat on a mound,        the giants' master,
Leashed of gold        he laid for his dogs,
And stroked and smoothed        the manes of his steeds.

Thrym spake:
6. "How fare the gods,        how fare the elves?
Why comst thou alone        to the giants' land?"

Loki spake:
7. "Ill fare the gods,        ill fare the elves!
Hast thou hidden        Hlorrithi's hammer?"

Thrym spake:
8. "I have hidden        Hlorrithi's hammer,
Eight miles down        deep in the earth;
And back again        shall no man bring it
If Freya I win not        to be my wife."

9. Then Loki flew,        and the feather-dress whirred,
Till he left behind him        the home of the giants,
And reached at last         the realm of the gods.
There in the courtyard        Thor he met:
Hear now the speech        that first he spoke:

10. "Hast thou found tidings        as well as trouble?
Thy news in the air        shalt thou utter now;
Oft doth the sitter        his story forget,
And lies he speaks        who lays himself down."

Loki spake:
11. "Trouble I have,        and tidings as well:
Thrym, king of the giants,        keeps thy hammer,
And back again        shall no man bring it
If Freya he wins not        to be his wife."

12. Freyja the fair         then went they to find;
Hear now the speech        that first he spake:
"Bind on, Freyja,        the bridle veil,
For we two must haste        to the giants' home."

13. Wrathful was Freyja,        and fiercely she snorted,
And the dwelling great        of the gods was shaken,
And burst was the mighty        Brisings' necklace:
"Most lustful indeed        should I look to all
If I journyed with thee        to the giants' home."

14. Then were the gods        together met,
And the goddesses came        and council held,
And the far-famed ones        a plan would fine,
How they might Hlorrithi's         hammer win.

15. Then Heimdall spake,        whitest of the gods,
Like the Wanes he knew        the future well:
"Bind we on Thor        the bridal veil,
Let him bear the mighty         Brisings' necklace;

16. "Keys around him        let there rattle,
And down to his knees        hang woman's dress;
With gems full broad         upon his breast,
And a pretty cap        to crown his head."

17. Then Thor the mighty        his answer made:
"Me would the gods        unmanly all
If I let bind        the bridle veil."

18. Then Loki spake,        the son of Laufey:
"Be silent, Thor,         and speak not thus;
Else will the giants        in Asgarth dwell
If thy hammer is brought not        home to thee."

19. Then bound they on Thor        the bridal veil,
And next the mighty         Brisings' necklace.

20. Keys around him        let they rattle,
And down to his knees        hung woman's dress;
With gems full broad                upon his breast,
And a pretty cap        to crown his head.

21. Then Loki spake,        the son of Laufey:
"As thy maid-servant thither        I go with thee;
We two shall haste        to the giants' home."

22. Then home the goats         to the hall were driven,
They wrenched at the halters,                swift were they to run;
The mountains burst,                 earth burned with fire,
And Othin's son        sought Jotunheim.

23. Then loud spake Thrym,         the giants' leader:
"Bestir ye, giants,        put straw on the benches;
Now Freyja they bring        to be my bride,
The daughter of Njorth        out of Noatun.

24. "Gold-horned cattle        go to my stables,
Jet-black oxen,        the giant's joy;
Many my gems,        and many my jewels,
Freyja alone        did I lack, methinks."

25. Early it was        to evening come,
And forth was borne        the beer for the giants;
Thor alone ate an ox,                 and eight salmon,
All the dainties as well        that were set for the women;
And drank Sif's mate        three tuns of mead.

26. Then loud spake Thrym,        the giants' leader;
"Who ever saw bride         more keenly bite?
I ne'er saw bride        with a broader bite,
Nor a maiden who drank        more mead than this!"

27. Hard by there sat        the serving-maid wise,
So well she answered                the giant's words:
"From food has Freyja        eight nights fasted,
So hot was her longing        for Jotunheim."

28. Thrym looked ‘neath the veil,        for he longed to kiss,
But back he leaped        the length of the hall:
"Why are so fearful        the eyes of Freyja?
Fire, methinks,        from her eyes burns forth."

29. Hard by there sat        the serving-maid wise,
So well she answered                the giant's words:
"No sleep has Freyja                for eight nights found,
So hot was her longing        for Jotunheim."

30. Soon came the giant's        luckless sister,
Who feared not to ask        the bridal fee:
"From thy hands the rings        of red gold take,
If thou wouldst win                my willing love,
(My willing love        and welcome glad.)"

31. Then loud spake Thrym,        the giants' leader:
"Bring in the hammer                to hallow the bride;
On the maiden's knees        let Mjollnir lie,
That us both the hand                of Vor may bless."

32. The heart in the breast        of Hlorrithi laughed
When the hard-souled one        his hammer beheld;
First Thrym, the king                of the giants, he killed,
Then all the folk        of the giants he felled.

33. The giant's sister        old he slew,
She who had begged                the bridal fee;
A stroke she got        in the shillings' stead,
And for many rings        the might of the hammer.

34. And so his hammer        got Othin's son.

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